The twice-born child threw back his head and laughed, his eyes just dancing as he took another draught. He turned to his deadly mistress and handed her the urn, at once feeling nothing but deepest desire.
“Wet your lovely lips and hark at this.”
She raised the earthen urn to her sweet, pink mouth and a murmur of surrender left her lover. “Oh fair-breasted Queen of my most erotic dreams. He may become a poet, my proud brother, but sure as day is night he is no lover.“
She took a second sip as he kissed her milk-white throat. Her voice was mocking, as ever. “Poor Dionysus, has your wine gone bitter! Who better than Apollo, voice of all reason, to relay the will of God to man?”
“Oh – daughter of the white-flecked foam – would you really prefer that braggart’s endless rationing to immortal death from too much loving?” His mouth fell down upon her breast, warm and soft as velvet beneath the silky, see-through dress.
Her eyes glazed over with lust. “You play to your strengths, I’ll grant you that; but what if death holds no temptation, even if the manner of dying might so much?”
“Pearl of Poseidon’s sea, how cruel that you pretend not to see. Do not all fair females of the universe have an inner understanding of my mystery?”
“You are a sly, uncontrollable creature and half of my self is now enthralled as I await your meaning! Come now, whisper your sweet nothings in my shell-like ear!”
“Nothing that is definable in words except – perhaps – immortal or invincible. Now show me that your body has a heart.”
“And why would I have a heart, foolish being, when such a thing was made to just be broken! Beware, now. My age-old son – the wholly unconquered warrior – stands poised right above you with his deadly, love-tipped arrow. One more stolen kiss and you, Dionysus, shall be blighted for your eternal life by the lust of Aphrodite, abandoned to the web of Ariadne by this fatal charm.
He took from her the urn and drained it to a drop. “If there is a thorn on this rose, then smite me with it now, your highness, so I can bleed and watch you leave.”
A bull emerged from the forest, metamorphosising with a swagger into a shining youth, handsome as a handsome youth can be.
He walked hand in hand with the loveliest female in the land, raising to his moistened lips an earthen jar of ruby-coloured wine.
Her love-child laughed with his magician.
Hera looked broodingly at the twice-born son of his father and a cloud began descending on the assembly. “I hope you will not reserve too many honours for this youth, Dionysus, husband, for he is only quite immortal, with half true blood in his blue, engorged veins”.
“But see the ones who follow him, my wife; you must admit he is in great company: The body of desire with the power of love and the herald of all ages. I see no issue here but that which is great!” Zeus roared with laughter and raised a glass in toast to his progeny.